Street View, the extensive photographing of areas covered by Google Maps to give on on-the-ground feel to navigation, has been controversial from the start. When it was revealed that software in the Street View photo cars gathered not just general information on Wi-Fi locations, but also private information such as photos and emails, all hell broke loose for the company.
The popular Street View service started up in Spain three years ago and has proven popular, according to a spokesperson quoted by the New York Times. However, rolling it out any further in that country has been put on hold until the legal situation has been resolved.
In addition to Spain, the following countries are investigating, or have investigated Google.
The increasing number of independent investigations probably can't be avoided, given the different values and differing legal structures of the governments involved. But the lack of a central investigating authority is a bit aggrevating. So far, only one, the U,K., has concluded its investigation, finding Google innocent. But their proclamation, that "(i)t is unlikely that Google will have captured significant amounts of personal data," is frustratingly vague.
Valencia Spain Street View car photo by Visentico Sento